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MartinlfMarch 21st, 2013, 4:08 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Here's a follow up to the "Neck Problems" thread for Bruce and any others looking to buy feathers from a reliable dealer. The Fly Shack, in Gloversville New York, has some Whiting Silver half capes. (It appears easy to find half capes in Bronze, but not so easy to find them in Silver). I bought a gorgeous medium dun half cape through Amazon, got 10.00 off by signing up for a store card, and paid 40.00 total, with free shipping. It has the longest feathers I've ever seen on a cape, tons of size 16-24 feathers, dense hackles, and nice flexible stems. Hook and Hackle in Pennsylvania has plenty of Whiting capes also, full price, but they have excellent customer service with no hassles or BS. They currently have free shipping also. I bought a half Bronze black cape from them, which should arrive tomorrow, just in time to tie up some little black stones.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CrepuscularMarch 21st, 2013, 5:53 pm
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 923
Louis, did you buy them in person or did you let them select them for you and have them shipped?
WbranchMarch 21st, 2013, 7:12 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
I believe fly tiers can pretty much buy anything they want, or need, sight unseen. But when it comes to dry fly necks I have always preferred to see, touch, and thoroughly examine them before making a purchase.

I have found more than just a few saddles that in my mind were incorrectly graded. They are marked as a #2 dry fly neck but are truly #1's in my book. I usually only buy saddles as I believe I get more bang for my buck. Most of my saddles have feathers that are at least 6" long and many are 8" long. I can tie half a dozen flies easily with just one hackle.

I used to buy a full Hoffman saddle and spit it lengthwise with my buddy long before they were selling 1/2 and 1/4 necks. If you are fussy about how your dry flies look I think, in most cases, you should go to the retailer and look at many saddles or necks of various colors so you can learn what to look for and see the difference between a very good neck and one that is great.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfMarch 21st, 2013, 8:13 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Eric, I asked them to select them for me and had them shipped. Matt is, of course, right, and I prefer to pick over necks when I can, but it's become almost impossible to find Whiting silver half necks, and I didn't want a whole neck for either of these. The dun is more important to me, as I use very few black hackles, mostly just for little stoneflies and midges. I'll let you know what Hook and Hackle sends, but I was more than delighted with the dun neck from the Fly Shack. Hook and Hackle takes returns, and I think pays return shipping. I recently spent a good bit of time looking over a stack of Keough dun half necks and did find one that I liked, but put it in the back of the stack to think about for a while. The Whiting neck is a lot nicer, but I would have returned it had I not liked it; Amazon is very good about returns also. The problem I had with Feather Emporium actually had to do with a return and the service I encountered on it.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Jmd123March 21st, 2013, 9:18 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
I picked up a Whiting Silver half-cape of medium dun last year - ordered a half a bronze from Feather-craft but they were out of bronze so I went for the silver. BEAUTIFUL, looooong feathers, very nice color (great for Light Hendricksons, Red Quills, Elkhair caddis, etc.), very much worth the money. If you're careful you can tie two or even three flies off each feather!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MartinlfMarch 21st, 2013, 9:52 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Another good source, then, Jonathon.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Jmd123March 21st, 2013, 11:59 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
Haven't ordered any from them lately so I can't give you the most updated info, but they seem to be pretty well stocked so check them out.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnMarch 22nd, 2013, 12:15 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Mark Libertone's buddy Jim Slattery out in West Yellowstone...I ordered some hen from him that are so beautiful it hurts to pull a feather from the skin. :) Nice stuff...

With rooster, I too agree with Matt, that one should hold it in you hand and check it out closely...I have had close friends whose knowledge I trusted...but...

Once, many years ago, my mother wanted to know what I wanted for Christmas...I gave her Rusty Gates' phone number, told her to speak to no one but him, and tell him who you are,Spence's mom, and tell him how much you want to spend...I wasn't disappointed in the least. :) She grew up on a farm in western Maryland and nearly fell over when she found out how much she had spent on chicken feathers...:)

When everyone was bending Rusty's ear in the morning in the shop I would be standing back in the hackle corner in the back of the shop staring at necks...He once sold me a primo neck he had sat aside for his tiers, when he showed it to me, and I wouldn't give it back to him...:)


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SayfuMarch 24th, 2013, 10:04 am
Posts: 560Our big Fly Tying Expo is coming up here in less than 3 wks. Dr. Whiting use to have a booth, and bring a big lot of 2nds that he'd sell for $10 ea. Boy did the guys crowd into his booth. And I was one of them. I got to talk to Dr. Whiting for sometime. One of his good stories was the long, small hackle size saddles they were producing. The ends would drag on the ground, and ruin the hackle, so they produced a chicken with longer legs.

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